QA Consultancy and the Conversation

One of the advantages of working as a software quality assurance/testing consultant (and before that as a full-time employee with the propensity to job-hop) is that one gets quite a knowledge of a variety of industries.

This became quite clear to me one recent day as I hopped into a shuttle from an auto dealer’s service department for a ride out into the hinterlands and my home office. I struck up a conversation with the ITish looking Chinese man next to me and asked him the ever eternal opener, “So what do you do?”

To my surprise, he was not in IT per se, but he was a chemical engineer. I asked what sort of software he used for modeling, and I could talk about some of the challenges of testing that sort of software because I’d done it, albeit for a more pharmaceutically minded company. I got to learn a little about his challenges, too, and what he does day-to-day as a user.

After he disembarked, I talked a bit with the driver of the shuttle, a retired employee of the local wastewater treatment plant. As I’ve tested a wastewater treatment district’s Web site (remember the classic Make Your Software Development Process More Like A Sewer?), I could understand what he was talking about when he told me about the machinery and equipment he operated and its part in the treatment process.

One of the best parts of this job is that I get to touch so many different projects in so many different industries and to learn so many different things and businesses that the actual testing and application of testing knowledge is always fresh.

And it makes excellent conversation fodder.

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